A recent test flight of a unmodified airliner that used an algae-based biofuel was a great success! This is good news for air travelers as it will mean that their carbon footprint will be greatly reduced when airliners switch to the more efficient biofuel.
The test by Houston-based Continental, the fourth-largest U.S. airline, is a step toward the International Air Transport Association’s goal of having member carriers use 10 percent alternative fuels by 2017 to reduce global warming. The European Union will cap airline carbon-dioxide emissions beginning in 2012.
“We’re watching as different countries set carbon-reduction targets,” Leah Raney, Continental’s managing director of global environmental affairs, said in an interview. “We have been working very diligently to reduce our carbon footprint over the last 10 years.”
Aviation accounts for about 2 percent of global CO2 emissions, IATA estimates. More-fuel-efficient planes have helped Continental trim its output of heat-trapping gases 35 percent, Raney said.
Fuel of Future
U.S. carriers are testing alternative fuels after prices for traditional jet kerosene, which is derived from crude oil, surged to a record $4.36 a gallon in July. Jet-fuel prices have since collapsed about 60 percent amid a deepening recession.
“This demonstration flight represents another step in Continental’s ongoing commitment to fuel efficiency and environmental responsibility,” Chief Executive Officer Larry Kellner said in a statement. “The technical knowledge we gain today will contribute to a wider understanding of the future for transportation fuels.”